You know exactly what I mean when I say “that funny feeling”, right? No need to explain so I can go ahead and end this blog? Oh, you don’t know where I’m coming from on this? Alright, well, make sure you’re sitting down, grab some popcorn and a cold beer, or a glass of Moscato if that’s more your forte.
That funny feeling, I’m sure you’ve been there. That feeling where you get that sinking feeling in your chest, the world feels like it’s closing in on you, yet it feels so far away that you cannot reach out and grab anything. That feeling where the walls are coming down on you. Quicksand. For those of you that do not understand the phrase quicksand, I’ll explain, based loosely off of one of my favorite movies (I say loosely as I am changing the words to avoid plagiarism and having to cite references). You think everything is going alright, but then something goes wrong, and then another. And another. Trying to fight back but you can’t, the harder you fight, the deeper you sink. You’re stuck. You cannot move, cannot breathe, because you’re in over your head. Quicksand. Get the reference? It happens to everyone, everywhere, randomly. No matter what the occasion, it can happen to you. An interview, a recital, a game, a date, anything. I, myself, am all too familiar with quicksand. It happens.
Don’t get me wrong, the quicksand feeling is not always a bad thing. Sometimes, you feel like you are stuck when you are falling or someone, or you have already fallen for them and cannot get them off of your mind. You are driving down the road and hear that song that makes you think of her, and what happens? You know you can’t call her because she is in class or at work, so you drift off and think about her. If the feeling is mutual your heart feels warm and cozy, if not your heart kind of just sinks. Regardless, you have that funny feeling. Quicksand sounds bad, but it’s not entirely, it depends on the situation. I’ve had that quicksand feeling before where I was frozen, I was stuck. All I could think about was this girl, she was on my mind non-stop, so much that it hurt at times. I kept having that sinking feeling, that I just could not move, I lost my breath every time I saw her and got lost in her eyes. Don’t expect a happy ending there, I ended up on the negative side of the quicksand on that one, but hey, it was awesome for a little while.
Picture this. There you are, breaking back into the wonderful world of dating, slowly but surely. You have been out of the game for so long, you have no idea where to start, you know you are ready though. What do you do? You have kids at home, so that kind of eliminates the opportunity of just getting up and going out whenever you want to try the local watering hole or Applebee’s (people still go to Applebee’s to meet people, right?). You can get a sitter, but then you are limited on time and at the mercy of your sitter on when you can go out. What’s the next best option? You do research, you ask around, get on websites and see what other single parents are doing. In doing this you are directed to countless websites and apps that are all directed towards “dating”. There’s something for just about everyone out there, literally. There is a site where you can get on to meet farmers only.
In your incessant searches, you come across sites/apps such as Badoo, Tinder, Match.com, Plenty Of Fish; so where do you start? You could be like me and download or sign up for a few of them and see where it leads. Then you are faced with creating a profile. What the hell? I have to try to sell myself by making a profile and telling people about me? What on earth do I say? Do I talk about all of my accomplishments? Do I put that I have kids? Should I say I that am divorced? How much truth do these people want? What about my favorite color or food? This already seems like way too much work. What am I supposed to do? Play it cool, that’s the route we choose…right? What worked when you were meeting people at bars in your early 20’s? That will still work a decade later, of course it will.
It doesn’t. Just so you know. People want to know you, and the true you, but not all at once. You give them selective information, enough to get them to want to know more, and wait. Basically my profile fills in the required information like location, smoking and drinking preferences, the “Basics”. As with most sites you can choose options such as “Prefer Not To Answer” and likewise. Then you have me, and as you’ve seen from previous posts, I have no reason to hide anything. I’m a 30 year old divorced man that raises two kids, I’m goofy, I like to have fun, I own my home, I own my vehicle, I drink, and I smoke; plain and simple. If you do not like it, you move on from my page and don’t look back, because don’t worry, I’ll live. You can message me and talk to me and tell me that smoking is nasty or you don’t support drinking, but you are still willing to meet, I can deal with that. But the second you bring my kids into the fold and say something as ignorant as “Well if you didn’t have kids…”, just stop there. You may as well have just told me that if I had no hands you would be interested. My kids are a part of me. If you don’t like it, see ya. I have no interest the minute you say you don’t like kids. Dating is not rocket science, not by any means, you just have to know what you are looking for. Which, for the most part, I do. I dated a lot of women over my 30 years, enough to know what kind of woman I want in my life….well, I did. I use past tense there because I knew what I wanted when I was only worried about me, now I have two impressionable hearts at home that will either love or hate the next person that I bring into my life so I have to be cautious. So, you choose the route of online dating to see what happens, here’s your options:
- In my experience, stay away from Plenty of Fish, just stay off of it. There are parameters on which you are “matched” with people, but that means nothing. Any creep can message you on there and flirt with you and say some pretty raunchy things, and just being honest, most of them look to be pretty unsavory people. I’m not even sure if I deactivated my account, but after about 7 hours of random women (and some men) messaging me on there, I deleted the app.
- Then you have Badoo, which boasts itself as more of a place to meet friends, it even gives you the option of “I’m here to:” with options such as “Make New Friends”, “Chat”, “Date Guys/Girls 18-?”. So you get on there and be honest, throw a few pictures up, and see what happens. You have two main options to find people: “People Nearby” and “Encounters”. The first one basically goes by your zip code and breaks it down by people that are within your range, with thumbnails of various people that you can click on and see more pictures and a bio. Where the latter of the two is kind of hit and miss and goes out further within your range, but you don’t get to just click on a picture of your choice, you literally shuffle through random woman (or men) and click “Like” or “Dislike”. If you get a mutual “Like”, it will allow you to chat with them. Otherwise, you can pay to be a VIP and chat with anyone of your choice, or pay to have “Super Powers” and chat with whomever and have a few other perks. The downside to this app is the fact people can pay money or install random apps to earn free tokens to chat, so you can get some weird people that message you saying things like “Hey your really sexy, we could be sexier together in ur bed” (no lie, this is the kindergarten scratch message I got from a grotesque wildebeest). So pick your battles here, I enjoy Badoo for the fact that you can blatantly state that you are just there to talk. I’ve made some friends there that I talk to.
- You can always join Match.com. I mean, it is “the number one destination for online dating with more dates, more relationships, & more marriages than any other dating or personals site” site. I have not tried it, and I’m not sure if I will. It is an option though, if I get that bad off where I feel I need something more, but I’m not ready for all of that yet. Try it at your own risk, I’ll update this if I ever get around to trying it out.
- The glorious “glory hole” that is Tinder. Tinder is responsible for probably half of the herpes cases across the US right now. Not that it is a bad website to join by any means, but for the people that are just looking for a friend, it’s not that site. It is notoriously known for being the “hook-up” site, that’s what is was created for. Sure, there are plenty of people on there that blatantly state they are there for friendships, and even put in their profile that they are not the “hook-up” type regardless of the countless number of half naked pictures they posted. This is no stab at Tinder at all, it has it’s positives, just take them with a grain of salt. And maybe a shot of Penicillin. The creators of Tinder made it so you cannot message anyone on there whatsoever, unless you mutually “Like” each other. So if you get on there and like a woman (or man), you cannot message them until they “Swipe Right” on you. That eliminates the freaks from being to message people with harmless intentions. The “Swipe Right” and “Swipe Left” is a convenient feature as well, if you are unfamiliar, I’ll briefly explain. You login to Tinder and are treated to a picture of a woman (or man) which you can immediately swipe your thumb left or right. Left is if you do not like them, right is if you do like them; obviously, your choice is based off of their picture immediately. You can click on the picture to read a bit of info on them if you choose to, but if you don’t want to just swipe on left. The best part? It’s completely anonymous. You aren’t going to hurt any feelings. If you swipe left because they are ugly, they will never know that you thought that. Downside to that is if you swipe right because you think someone is pretty, you’ll never know if they swiped left on your or not, unless you both swiped right.
There’s countless other apps and websites, those are just the main ones that come to mind right now, or one’s I have any experience with. For those of you that have a wild side, or as some call a “fetish”, there is a little known gem on the internet called Fetlife.com. It’s exactly what it says. It’s about fetishes. You log in and click through countless fetishes based on what you like, and create a profile, then see what kind of people in your town have the same fetishes. I know this because I got on there to see what the hell it was, and immediately got scared. There are some weird people in Evansville, I tell you what.
Regardless, if you are a single parent and you have no idea where to start, you are not the only one nor the first one. The most important thing is that you have acknowledged the fact that you are lonely, and you are coming to terms with it. That was the absolute hardest part for me, realizing that I craved attention from another adult. You’re in the slums, depressed, things just are not going right. I urge you to join at least one of those sites, my recommendation is Badoo or Tinder for a beginner, and I urge you to with this in mind. Do not use it as a means to an end, use it as a confidence booster. I first signed up for those sites thinking I would find someone to make me happy and fill that void, and I may have been wrong. With that said, I have made some friends on there and have had some very interesting, fun, therapeutic conversations. I found out through these sites that being a single dad is not all that bad, and I’m not nearly as washed up as I thought. I still got it. I’m still a good-looking man, I have my head on straight, and I know what I want in life. Some women find those traits to be among the sexiest out there; who wants a man or woman that has no idea the direction they are headed in life or is a loose cannon?
If you are a single man or woman, get on one of those sites today, build your confidence, and make some new friends. If you are in a committed relationship, stay there, please. Love your significant other. We all deserve someone great in our lives, just make sure they are great for you. A large bank account does not substitute for a large heart. Think about what you want in life. If you are great to them, or committed to them, and they are not to you. Get out of the relationship today. If the spark is no longer there, whether you have been together a week, a month, a year, 20 years; find a way to renew that spark. If you cannot light it back up, maybe it’s time to think things through, what is best for both of you. Guys, focus, the women know what I mean when I say “spark”, and it’s not the spark that flashes with how fast you unzip your zipper. I’m talking about THE SPARK. The look in her eyes, the feeling in your heart, the smile she leaves on your face after just kisses you on the cheek and leaving.
Wrap your minds around this men, from the first date a single woman has already thought about what it is like to kiss you. She has already played through most of the night and the end of the night, if not the future of the relationship in her head. If she is on a date with you, then she already said yes to you once. She said “yes”, when she could have said “no”. She chose to be there with you, she chose to grace you with her present on that date. The hard part is over then, right? Absolutely not. You have to keep her from leaving. You have to keep her entertained, happy, and genuinely interested in YOU. How do you do that? Don’t talk about your bank account, your ex’s, your car collection; in fact, don’t talk about yourself at all. If she wants to know about you, she’ll ask. If she knows you have kids and still came out with you, that’s already a huge plus. Don’t bore her with what little Johnny did in last nights soccer game, or how Cecilia’s ballet was awesome, but talk about your kids. Briefly. The main focus of the night though, is her. Use open ended questions, get her to talk. And then pay attention. She will tell you her entire life story if you let her, and it won’t even be in her words. Watch her face, her eyes, and her smile. HER SMILE, not her lips. You can stare into a woman’s eyes and tell if she is genuinely happy to be right there with you, and you can tell everything else at that very moment. She will tell you with her eyes, and why you ask? Because she wants to. But she wants you to notice it. She wants you to engage her and ask the penetrating questions to make her talk, and yes, she wants to know you, just not all at once.
So where do you find love? The supermarket? Internet? Facebook? I have no idea. Is your soul-mate out there, absolutely. We all have one, somewhere, that one person that makes our hearts beat faster and slower at the same time. But I can’t tell you where they are or where you will find them. I’m still searching for mine, so I’ll let you know when I find her.
I’m obviously no “love guru”, or I’d not be lonely. This is not necessarily advice, just an observation I have made through my years of love and heartache. Take it for what it is worth, mix it up with what you may already know, and make it what it needs to be for your life. After all, it’s your funny feeling.